This morning, my brother Reed and his wife Lee Ann boarded a plane that would take them to the other side of the world, to the place where their third daughter waits for them.
She's in Ethiopia. She's almost 11 months old. She has giant brown eyes and heart-shaped lips, and she has (the orphanage workers have said) a bright and curious personality. And it makes me smile when I think of how unaware she is, at this very moment, how much she is loved. She has no idea how many hours her momma has stared at her photograph, hoping the dimply hands means she has enough to eat. She doesn't know about the countless of hours of research her daddy has done, finding a way to bring her home. She's never met the two big sisters who have prayed for her every night. She doesn't know the grandmother who wears her name on a chain, or the rowdy cousins who are already planning affectionate nicknames. She has no idea her auntie Shannon is prowling around like a crazy woman, anxiously checking for the text message: We have her.
She doesn't know all of this; she simply sits happily in her crib in Addis Abada, lovingly cared for by orphanage workers who saw, from the start, an undeniable sparkle in her. When she was abandoned as a newborn, they named her Tarikwa Teka. It's Amharic for "she has a story that He has replaced".
Needless to say, Reed and Lee Ann are keeping that name. It's much too beautiful–and true–to change.
She has a story. And unbeknownst to little Tarik, chapter two begins in only three days, when her parents come to get her. May I ask, if the thought crosses your mind, that you'd pray for my brother and his wife, that their travel would be safe, and that Tarik will be able to adapt to her new family easily? Will you pray for those of us back at home that we will all have the wisdom to help Reed, Lee Ann and Tarik in this transition, and that my two little nieces here at home will feel peaceful while their parents are away? I'd appreciate it so much, and I know they would too.
By the way, Reed and Lee Ann have a six-year-old Compassion child in Ethiopia, and they'll get to meet her while they're there. Updates to come!
Thanks for your prayers.